Hargeisa (Somaliland Monitor)- A delegation from the Republic of Somaliland and senior government officials from the United Arab Emirates have signed a historic economic and military pact in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
The pact, the first of its kind since the Republic of Somaliland restored independence in 1991, was widely welcomed by Somalilanders across the globe and on social media.
The National has obtained details of the comprehensive pact signed between both governments.
Somaliland’s representative to the UAE, Mr. Bashe Awil Haji Omar, confirmed the details of the historic pact to The National.
Seven-point economic and military pact
Political status and International Recognition
- The pact between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Somaliland is an agreement in line with international standards and proves that Somaliland is indeed the sole legitimate authority of its territory and people. This agreement shows the International Community that Somaliland has the capacity to enter agreements with other nations. This will greatly aid Somaliland’s search for International Recognition and will attract more countries to enter agreements with Somaliland. This agreement highlights the UAE’s special interest in Somaliland and the weight of their confidence in the country.
Fostering Economic and Social Development
- The Republic of Somaliland will lease Berbera International Airport to the United Arab Emirates for a period of 25 years in exchange for economic and social development projects totaling $1 billion. The Republic of Somaliland desperately needs investments in infrastructure and social development.
- The biggest projects under the $1 billion deal include: Construction of Berbera-Wajaale highway, A new Cargo Airport in Berbera, Large dams to be built across Somaliland, Water-Energy-Health & Education projects. These projects will begin within the next three years.
Creating Jobs for Somalilanders
- The United Arab Emirates promises to open their markets for Somalilander entrepreneurs and all other citizens and will allow Somalilanders to seek jobs in the UAE, start businesses in the UAE and to sell their products in the UAE ex) Livestock.
- All employeesworking at the Military base shall comprise of Somalilanders. As for the projects listed above, the majority of employees shall hail from Somaliland. Somalilanders shall also be given priority for contracts issued by the UAE. Under this agreement, foreign workers who do not hail from Somaliland or the UAE are not allowed to work at Berbera Airport.
National security and defense
- The United Arab Emirates promises to protect the Republic of Somaliland from all external threats and to protect Somaliland’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (land and maritime boundaries). This agreement also prevents the UAE from allowing any foreign army to use Berbera Airport, without permission from the Government of the Republic of Somaliland.
- The United Arab Emirates will also train the Republic of Somaliland’s national armed forces (coastal guard, military, and police) and will provide the national armed forces with modern equipment to protect Somaliland’s sovereignty. Preserving Somaliland’s peace and national security efforts is also in the United Arab Emirates interest, as many investments funded by the UAE are being carried out in the country.
Meanwhile, during Somaliland’s delegation’s visit to UAE, Foreign Minister Sa’ad Ali Shire told the media that UAE promises to send emergency aid to drought affected people in Somaliland.
The leader of the delegation Mr. Abdirahman Abdilahi Ismail (Seili’i) speaking to the media after the agreement was signed said, “This is a historical day that will be remembered in both countries, especially in Somaliland as the first major agreement with a recognized state. We have given a military base to UAE in exchange to economic and political aid. As part of the economic aid, the Berbera Corridor linking Berbera to Wajale on the Ethiopian border will be built by the UAE. A second airport will be built in Berbera city. This day will be the renaissance of the historical relationship between Somaliland Republic and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).”
According to Somaliland SLNTV journalist in Abu-Dubai, the agreement also includes an article of joint-military cooperation of the defense of Somaliland’s sea, land and airspaces, if violated.
Source: The Republican Newspaper